Auntie Stella

5. I am the head of my family now

Theme: Living with HIV and AIDS
Speaking out
Relationships with family and community
Changing Society

Dear Auntie Stella

I am a 15 year-old boy and the oldest in my family. My father left us a long time ago and my mother died of AIDS some months back. There are four younger brothers and sisters after me and now I am the one who must look after them.

My mother didn’t leave a will so, when she died, my uncles took all our property. We are only left with our hut, a few clothes and some pots.

Sometimes one pastor from a church brings food for us and sometimes I help some women with their farm work, but it is not enough. Often I cannot sleep because I am worried so much about how we can live. There are some other kids like me but we never talk to each other.

Please help me, Auntie, as this problem is haunting me day and night.


Talking points

  • Do you know any young people with problems like this? What are they doing to support themselves and their families?  Who is helping them?
  • What would normally happen to children in this situation in your community? Who would help?
  • What is a will? Do older people in your community write wills? What happens when someone dies without writing a will?
  • What do children and young people need in order to survive and to grow up happy and healthy and able to do the best they can in life? Make a list. Then put your ideas in order,with the most important ones first.
  • What advice would you give Lovemore?